Thursday, 11 July 2019

Wet Nurse -Thanatosis

Album: Thanatosis
Artist: Wet Nurse
Catalogue  no: TumorCD124


      1.      Focal Point
      2.      Sacred Spring
      3.      A Promise was Made
      4.      Sexual Vertigo
      5.      Liminal Flesh
      6.      The End of a Rope
      7.      Glove Anesthesia
      8.      Divisible Organs
      9.      The Opening of the Mouth
    10.  Stitched Nerve Drapery
    11.  Tapeworm Finds its Host
    12.  The Exit Anthem
    13.  Salvation Comes in Waves of Pain

Once in a while an album comes along and grabs you by the throat. This latest from Canada’s Wet Nurse did just that for me – thirteen tracks of condensed malignancy, pain, and trauma, utterly bleak and uncompromising. The starting point is painted in black, and the endpoint is an even deeper shade of black. And what you get in between is a soul not merely laid bare, but ripped asunder.

Thanatosis, or Apparent Death, is the state that resembles death. It occurs in nature as a defence mechanism in some animals and insects, but it can also appear in humans who have suffered extreme brutality and abuse beyond the pale. If ever there was an apt title for an album of harsh, obtuse, and bitter inhuman paeans to affliction, mental collapse, and agony, then this is it.  

What happens when you don’t have much left, but you still want to scream your rage? You chain that rage to stripped back, sparse, grinding and pulsing stabs of electronics, garnished with both distorted, indecipherable lyrics, and the unalloyed, untreated spoken word. The very fact that each of these pieces is composed of very little structurally means that their power is all the more pronounced– spite and venom don’t have to be shouted to be raw and immediate. All that’s needed is the torture chamber assortment of power tool sounds that we have here to experience the filth, grime, and cesspit swamp of personal degradation and social debasement.

This is grim at its grimmest. From beginning to end there’s no let-up, and its maladjustment never rises above the dungeon floor. This isn’t a criticism, but praise – its sparseness and relentlessness, along with the frigidity and emptiness at its core, is what captivated my attention. And perhaps the most pertinent aphorism in this essay, the one possible escape route, is contained in the title of the final song, ‘Salvation Comes in Waves of Pain’ – shades of the film Martyrs and the nihilist philosophy that runs through it, perhaps. Anger has never sounded so sharp, so precisely surgical, or so relevant.

One to bludgeon myself with again and again - every man has to have a hobby.

Psymon Marshall 2019

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